Owen - BX9315 O81

136 THE EXERCISE OP TH First, TheLord Christ entered into heaven, the place of the residence of the glory of God, as into a temple, a tabernacle, aplace ofsacred worship. Hedid so as the High Priest of the church, I-Ieb. vi. 9, 21. He is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. He is enter- ed into heaven, as it was figured by the tabernacle of old, which was the place of all sacred and solemn wor- ship. And therefore is he said to enter into it through the vail, Heb. vi. 19, 20. chap. x. 19, 20. which was the way of entrance into the most holy place, both in the tabernacle and temple. Heaven is notonly a palace, a throne, as it is God's throne, Matth. v. 3, 4. but it is a temple, wherein God dwells, not only in majesty and power, but in grace and mercy. It is the seat of ordi- nances and solemn worship. So it is represented, Rev. vii. 15, 17. It is said of the whole number of the saints above, that have passed through the tribula- tions of this world; that they are K before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. And the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and lead them unto living fountains of water." See also chap. viii. 1, 2, 3, 9.. The wor- shipof the church below may also be herein comprized; but it is by virtue of communion with that above. This is that heaven which the souls of believers do long for an entrance into. Other apprehensions of it are but uncertain speculations. Secondly, In this temple, this sanctuary, the Lord Christ continueth gloriously tominister before the throne ofgrace, in the discharge of hisoffice. See Heb. iv. 14, 15, 16. chap. ix. 24. As the high priest wentinto the holy place to minister for the church unto God, before the ark and merry-seat, which were types of the throne of grace; so Both our High Priest act for us in the real presence of God. He did not enter into the holy place only to reside there in a way of glory, but to do temple- work, and give unto God all that glory, honour, and worship, which he will receive from the church. And wemay consider both. (1.) What this merk is. And (2.) How it is per- formed, 1. Ih general, herein Christ exerteth and exercised: all his love, compassion, pity, and care towards the E MEDIATORY OFFICE church and every member of it. This are we frequent- ly called unto the considerationof; as the foundationof all our consolation, as the fountain ofall our obedience. See lieb. ii. 17, 18. chap. iv. 15, 16. chap. v. '2. Thoughts hereof are the relief of believers in all their distresses and temptations; and the effects of it are all their supplies of grace, enabling them to persevere in their obedience. He doth appear for them as the great representative of the church to transact all their affairs with God. And that for three ends. (t.) To make effectual the atonement that he isatis made for sin. By the continual representation of it, and ofhimself as a Lamb that had been slain,he procures the application of the virtues and benefits of it, in re. conciliation and peace with God, unto their souls and consciences. Hence are all believers sprinkled and washed with his blood in all generations; in the appli- cation of the virtues of it unto them, as shed for them. (2.) To undertake the protection, and to plead their cause against all the accusations of Satan. He yet se- cuseth and chargeth them before God. But Christ is their advocate at the throneof grace, effectually frustrat- ing all his attempts, Rev. xii. 10. Zech. iii. 2. (3.) To intercede for them, as unto the communica- tion of all grace and glory, all supplies of the Spirit, the accomplishment of all the promises of the covenant towards them, 1 John ii. 1, 2. This is the work of Christ in heaven. In these things as the High Priest of the church, doth he continue to administer his medi- atory office on their behalf. And herein is heattended with the songsand joyful accomplishmentsof allthe holy ones that are in the presence of God, giving glory to God by him. 2. As unto the mannerof this glorious administration, sundry things are to be considered. 1st, That this transaction of things in heaven, being in the temple of God, and before the throne of grace, is a solemn instituted worship at present, which shall cease at the end of the world. Religious worship it is; or that wherein and whereby all the saints above do give glory to God. And it is instituted worship, not that which is merely natural, in that it is God's especial ap- pointment in and by Christ the Mediator. It is a church-state which is constituted hereby, wherein those glorious ordinances are celebrated; and such a state as shall not be eternal, but hath its time allotted unto